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AT&T attracts more customers in fourth quarter than in 3 years

NEW YORK -- The launch of the iPhone 5 helped AT&T attract more new customers in the holiday quarter than it has in three years, but the company posted a big loss because of an annual adjustment to its pension obligations.

AT&T Inc. on Thursday said it added a net 780,000 new phones and other devices on contract-based plans from October to December, its best result in three years. It activated 8.6 million iPhones in the quarter — a record for any company. AT&T was the first company to introduce the iPhone in 2007, and has more iPhone users than any other U.S. carrier.

AT&T's push to expand its market by getting nonphone devices connected to its network also helped, as nearly half of the new contract devices, or 380,000, were tablets.

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